It’s not just forced ultrasound: Abortion rights under assault

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2012/10/21/its_not_just_forced_ultrasound_abortion_rights_under_assault/?source=newsletter

In 2012, some 1,100 bills targeted reproductive rights — and 135 passed in 36 states. The cost? Women’s health

By
Sunday, Oct 21, 2012

A young girl in a green tank top lies on the examination table in a stark exam room in a Houston clinic. Her pink toenails dangle belowthe sterile covering draped over her thighs. The doctor inserts a probe between her legs and the two watch a grainy blob blossom on a sonogram screen suspended below the room’s industrial fluorescent lights. He gives a state-mandated description of the fetus: almost exactly seven weeks, he says, “nice and early.” She is well within the time frame for an abortion pill, rather than surgery.

The doctor, an avuncular, silver-haired man who’s been providing abortions, in the words of one colleague, “pretty much since Roe v. Wade,” turns the screen toward her and traces the outline of her uterus and the embryo, while the girl looks on blankly. He plays the heartbeat, which rises from the machine in a loud, shrill electronic pulse. The ritual, which is repeated several times a day at this Planned Parenthood in Houston and in clinics across the state, is mandated by a new Texas law designed to intensify the experience of abortion — to impress upon a woman, with images and sounds, the sense that she’s about to terminate a living thing.

Ultrasounds are a routine procedure at Planned Parenthood and many other clinics, a tool doctors use to gauge gestational stage — which can affect which procedure to use — or to detect complications. Some abortion patients prefer to see the sonogram, others are indifferent, others are traumatized by the very idea. But the new law makes displaying the ultrasound mandatory. Under Texas law, even if a woman averts her eyes, the doctor must give a verbal description of the fetus anyway. And it’s just the latest addition to a bureaucratic juggernaut of regulations that restrict how abortion providers practice in Texas.

In recent years, lawmakers across the country have enacted a dizzying array of arcane rules dictating everything from the dimensions of their buildings to the advice they must offer to patients about “abortion alternatives.” Thirty-five states, including Texas, have enacted pre-abortion counseling laws, which in many cases force women to make extra clinic visits. Legislatures in 10 states have introduced new measures for pre-abortion counseling and waiting periods in 2012. In addition, 18 states have introduced bills for ultrasound requirements this year, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights research institute.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2012/10/21/its_not_just_forced_ultrasound_abortion_rights_under_assault/?source=newsletter

Conservatives’ HPV vaccine dilemma: are they anti-cancer, or just anti-sex?

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/16/conservatives-hpv-vaccine-dilemma

Proof that vaccinating girls against the HPV virus does not cause promiscuity puts culture warriors in a spot


guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 16 October 2012

According to a recent study, giving children tetanus shots will not, in fact, encourage them to stab themselves with rusty nails or be less cautious when playing outdoors. Various political organizations have advocated against the tetanus vaccine, arguing that tetanus shots send the message that recreation is acceptable, and that if children know they’re protected from lockjaw, they will be less vigilant about avoiding the kinds of cuts and scrapes that can lead to deadly nervous system infections. Attempts to require tetanus vaccination have met extreme backlash from conservative groups who argue that mandating the vaccine is an assault on parental rights and family values.

Even bills that simply would have made the vaccine free for low-income children without mandating it were vetoed by Republican governors. Doctors hope that these study results, which show that tetanus-vaccinated children are no more likely to engage in unsafe recreational behavior than their unvaccinated peers, will increase the tetanus shot rate for children of parents who fear that tetanus shots encourage risk-taking.

At this point, you’re thinking, I hope:

“What in the world is this lady talking about? Everyone gives their kids tetanus shots! You’d be irresponsible not to inoculate your child against tetanus, and you’re nuts if you think that giving a kid a tetanus shot will make him be less careful about slicing his skin with filthy rusted metal. And there’s absolutely no political controversy around tetanus shots.”

You would be right. If only the same were true of the HPV vaccine.

According to a recent study, giving girls the HPV vaccine will not, in fact, encourage them to engage in sexual activity any earlier than their peers. Various political organizations have advocated against the HPV vaccine, arguing that the vaccine sends the message that sexual behavior is acceptable, and that if girls know they’re protected from HPV, they will be less vigilant about avoiding the kinds of risky sexual behaviors that can lead to pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/oct/16/conservatives-hpv-vaccine-dilemma

Is Big Pharma the biggest criminal fraudster in America?

Praying for Health Care Sanity

From Common Dreams:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/25-6

by Donna Smith
Published on Friday, May 25, 2012 by Common Dreams

I admit it.  I pray.  I know there are intellectuals who are above such frivolity and for whom the showing of any belief in a power greater than one’s self and one’s intellect is the ultimate sign of weakness and inferiority.  I don’t care.  I am not weak, and just because I am not in the economic or intellectual class as some have identified that class does not mean my brain is inferior to anyone else’s.

I think a lot about cruelty and the power that the profit-making gods have over people in America today.  And I work every day to support efforts to make the healthcare system less profit-driven and more humane.  To do the work I do, I educated myself and have worked at least as hard intellectually and professionally as any of the elite class who hold so much power over the rest of us – not because they have earned that power, but because they have purchased it with cash, with cruelty and with blind ambition to control the lives of others.

Today, I pray.  And for many American patients, prayer is one of the ways we try to steal ourselves against the traumas of an inhumane healthcare system run by the same profit-driven forces that control nearly every aspect of our lives every day.  My insurance company has made my most recent cancer journey hell for me.  For the past two months, the diagnostic efforts and now my treatment options have been second-guessed and delayed.  But nothing else in life is delayed.  So I pray.  I pray my doctors have the wisdom and skill to work around Aetna’s demands (I am sure you could easily substitute your own insurance company’s name here), and I pray I can dance fast enough around all the other issues in life to keep everything steady through this process.

A few weeks ago I wrote that if this cancer ends up requiring some long, expensive fight for care and I will likely not be OK anyway, I will not spend the rest of my life fighting with an insurance company and begging for mercy.  That has not changed.  But I am not even yet to the point where I can make that decision – the insurance company has questioned every single test and every procedure though I have faithfully used their “preferred providers.”

I pray today, as many Americans patients do, that I wake up this afternoon and hear a good result, but that I won’t be left with hundreds or thousands in bills somehow.  I pray, as many American patients do, that I won’t be seen in the wider world as damaged goods and unable to fulfill my other responsibilities.  I pray, as many American patients do, not that I won’t hurt or die but that I won’t make others suffer because I couldn’t navigate the cruel system well enough even as I felt ill and needed help but didn’t dare ask for it.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/05/25-6

Posted in Corporate Abuse, Health Care. Comments Off

Threat Of Hunger Skyrockets Among Seniors Over Last Decade: Report

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/03/threat-of-hunger-hunger-risk-food-insecurity_n_1475367.html


05/03/2012

One in seven seniors in America — some 8.3 million people — faced the threat of hunger in 2010, a 78 percent spike since 2001, according to a study released today by Meals On Wheels, the nonprofit that delivers meals to the homebound.

The “Senior Hunger Report Card” found while the risk of hunger for the U.S. population as a whole has declined since the end of the recession in 2009, it rose for people age 60 and older, mainly among those earning less than $30,000 –- or one to two times the poverty level. (The federal poverty level in 2010, the period studied, was $10,830 for a single person and $14,570 for a couple.) James P. Ziliak of the University of Kentucky and Craig Gundersen of the University of Illinois authored the report.

“There is no question that we are failing our seniors, some of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Enid A. Borden, CEO of the Meals On Wheels Research Foundation, in a statement. “The numbers spell out our failure with clarity, and at the same time they call us to action. No one in this, the richest nation on Earth should face the threat of hunger, no one. And seniors, who have little power to change their circumstances, deserve our special attention.” (See Borden’s exclusive Huff/Post50 blog post on the report for more.)

At greatest risk were seniors living in the South and Southwest, minorities, people who were divorced or separated, the disabled, and seniors age 60 to 69 (versus those over age 75). In terms of geography, the threat of hunger for seniors increased in 44 states since 2007, the report found, rising two percentage points in the “Top Ten Hunger States” (see slideshow below). Hunger risk declined or remained the same in just six states: Mississippi, Minnesota, South Carolina, Indiana, Louisiana and Idaho.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/03/threat-of-hunger-hunger-risk-food-insecurity_n_1475367.html

Neo-Nazi Texas Republican Attorney General Compares Planned Parenthood To Terrorist Organization

It’s time to stop pretending the Republicans haven’t become the Nazi Party of America. Their hatred of women and LGBT people makes them completely un-American

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/01/texas-ag-planned-parenthood-terrorist_n_1468838.html


05/ 1/2012

Just two hours after a U.S. district judge stopped a Texas law that would have eliminated Planned Parenthood’s participation in the state’s Women’s Health Program, Federal Appeals Judge Jerry E. Smith issued an emergency stay that lifted that order.

In the appeal for the emergency stay, a team of attorneys led by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott compared Planned Parenthood to a terrorist organization.

“Planned Parenthood does not provide any assurance that the tax subsidies it receives from the Women’s Health Program have not been used directly or indirectly to subsidize its advocacy of elective abortion,” Abbott wrote in his motion to stay the injunction. “Nor is it possible for Planned Parenthood to provide this assurance.”

“Money is fungible, and taxpayer subsidies — even if ‘earmarked’ for nonabortion activities — free up other resources for Planned Parenthood to spend on its mission to promote elective abortions … (because ‘[m]oney is fungible,’ First Amendment does not prohibit application of federal material-support statute to individuals who give money to ‘humanitarian’ activities performed by terrorist organizations).”

The “federal material-support statute” that Abbott mentions makes it a felony to give money to a terrorist organization, even if the funds are specified for nonterrorist activities. Abbott makes the argument that giving Medicaid money to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings, pap smears, STD testing and birth control is akin to giving a terrorist organization money for humanitarian activities.

Planned Parenthood responded Tuesday to the terrorist comparison in a statement to the Huffington Post.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/01/texas-ag-planned-parenthood-terrorist_n_1468838.html

Woman Jailed, Ostracized After Resorting to Self-Administered Abortion: What Is This, Puritan America?

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/reproductivejustice/153433/woman_jailed%2C_ostracized_after_resorting_to_self-administered_abortion%3A_what_is_this%2C_puritan_america/

When we deprive women of access to abortion, shun them, and even throw them in jail, we as a society become weaker.

By Amanda Marcotte 
December 14, 2011

Jennie McCormack, a resident of Idaho and a mother of three, has spent the past few months of her life in a legal and social situation that calls to mind the trials of Hester Pyrnne, the heroine of The Scarlet LetterAs reported by Nancy Hass of Newsweek, McCormack’s ordeal started when she learned she was pregnant by a man who was doing time for robbery.

Realizing that she couldn’t afford another baby, nor the $500 fee and two trips to get an abortion (because Idaho requires women to wait 24 hours after their first visit to the doctor to “think it over”), McCormack resorted to buying RU-486 from a vendor online. The police eventually arrested McCormack and charged her with an illegal abortion, claiming that she was over Idaho’s legal limit of 20 weeks for an abortion. Since the exact gestational age can’t be determined, charges have been dropped for now, but prosecutors are retaining the right to re-charge McCormack. In the meantime, she’s become a pariah in her community, been fired from her job, and even had to face social workers who are basically denying her aid to care for her children.

Even in super-liberal New York City, a woman is being prosecuted (albeit in a less drastic way) for a self-abortion after the legal limit. The desperate woman, accused of aborting after six months, threw the fetus in a trash can, presumably because she was not aware of her other options for disposing of it.

In the United States, abortion is technically a legal right, but as these cases show, it’s not functionally a right. If abortion were actually a right, women wouldn’t have such a difficult time getting a legal abortion that they resort to drastic measures that land them in jail. These cases demonstrate why abortion needs to be more than a right for those who have the means to jump through all the hoops put in place to keep them from obtaining legal abortions. Making sure women who want abortions can get them in a timely and safe fashion helps more than the women in question. We all do better if women can get the abortions that are supposedly their right.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/reproductivejustice/153433/woman_jailed%2C_ostracized_after_resorting_to_self-administered_abortion%3A_what_is_this%2C_puritan_america/

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 158 other followers